The idea: Contact Rich Seubert to ask if he knows Shane Lemieux, currently the Giants’ starting left guard.
Seubert was the starting left guard for the Giants’ 2007 Super Bowl team, renowned for his tenacity and go-anywhere zeal to make it on the field. It seems that Lemieux possesses some of these same qualities.
So the call goes out, Seubert answers and is told there’s something about this young offensive lineman that reminds him of that inner observer.
The reaction is immediate.
“Has he started a fight in training yet?” asks Seubert.
Well, actually, yes. Lemieux was the instigator of the first brawl of training camp this summer, mixing him up on Day 4 with defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams.
“See, here it is,” Seubert said approvingly.
Arguments with teammates in the heat of camp were Seubert’s specialty. He wasn’t drafted to a small school in western Illinois, but hasn’t backed down from anyone, ever, whether it’s Keith Hamilton – called ‘Hammer’ for a reason – or the bag artist. established Michael Strahan.
Fisticuffs, however, didn’t keep Seubert with the Giants for 10 years. He started every game in 2002, his second season, but a horrific injury crippled his right leg. It nearly ended his career, forced him to miss the entire 2004 season and relegated him to four reserve games in 2005. Seubert never stopped advancing and regained his starting position for the 2007 championship team. In 2010, he started every game at center and former general manager Jerry Reese called him the team’s MVP. In his last game that season, he suffered another serious injury – a dislocated right kneecap and a torn patellar tendon – and never played another game.
“That’s the first thing I heard when I got here, he was the epitome of toughness,” Lemieux told The Post, referring to Seubert. “And if you see that in me, that’s a big honor for me, because he’s a tough guy, from everything I’ve heard.”
The two talked and texted, but not often. Unlike Seubert, Lemieux was drafted, advancing to the fifth round in 2020 from Oregon. The coaching staff led by Joe Judge fell in love with Lemieux as a run-blocking presence and he started nine games as a rookie. At times he was indeed a punisher in the ground game, but his pass protection was rough around the edges.
Like Seubert, Lemieux encountered adversity early in his career. He started the 2021 season opener despite experiencing left knee discomfort. He realized he couldn’t continue and spent the rest of his second year on injured reserve after surgery to repair his patellar tendon.
The new front office has used a 2022 third-round pick over North Carolina guard Josh Ezeudu, but so far Lemieux has mostly lined up with the first team. Dealing with Lawrence and camp star Williams was a challenge that sometimes didn’t go well. Because Jon Feliciano ran out of time to deal with Heat-related issues, Lemieux also took reps with starters at center — another possible similarity to Seubert.
“I think every coach I’ve been with has told me center is probably going to be in my future,” Lemieux said. “They say I have a lot of traits that are good for a center. Versatility is the name of the game. You are watching [former Giants offensive lineman] David Diehl, he played everywhere, except in the center. Richie played both.”
Lemieux, 25, could be part of an offensive line under construction. There are the young bookend tackles, Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal. Mark Glowinski, 30, was signed to start at right guard. Feliciano, 30, only has a one-year contract. If he develops and stays healthy, Lemieux could be a fixture at guard or center.
“Since I went to Oregon, I was a three star, two star [recruit], I always had to work,” said Lemieux. “I never thought ‘Hey, I made it, I’m the starter, I don’t have any worries.’ Everyone always says “be confident” but you always look back. I feel like everything I’ve had in my career, I had to fight tooth and nail to get it. It’s just a little in my DNA.”
Brian Daboll, the first-year head coach and former offensive coordinator at Buffalo, said the Bills loved Lemieux coming out of the draft two years ago and praised him for playing with “a bad upside.”
Seubert, now 43 and head coach of Watchung Hills Regional High School in Warren, New Jersey, might as well have had a “nasty edge” tattoo on his arms.
“If he reminds you of me, he must have a fight up his ass, right?” Seubert said. “He may not be the best athlete on this court, but he has the guts to make up for it. When you watch him play, he likes to pick on himself. He’s got a little bit of that good anger in him.
A good temper kept Seubert blue for a decade. Lemieux fights for his shot.